Fresh off the recent events forever changing DC’s rosters comes Justice League United, the latest JL incarnation to stand for truth, justice, and the…Canadian way? Superstar creators Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone take our heroes north, ushering forth a new team, and a new menace (and a new character!), resulting in an enjoyable, if uneven, debut.
If you like team books, then there’s much to like in JLU. The plot is pretty straight forward super-team fare – unlikely group of heroes band together to face imminent alien threat – yet the book’s Canadian setting gives it a dash of uniqueness that serves it well. For all the jokes made about setting the team in Canada (Lemire himself even makes a few), the change in country actually works in the book’s favor. The leveling of large, metropolitan cities makes for good drama, but sometimes it’s nice to see things on a smaller scale. That’s not to say there aren’t any big moments (there are), but I enjoyed seeing our heroes mingling with regular folk.
In terms of team building, Lemire does a nice job introducing his new roster, characters playing off of one another in a fun, exploratory manner. I did feel like some of the meetings were a bit too convenient, but overall I think JLU has a solid cast that’s primed for greatness. I mean, they’ve got Animal Man fer crying out loud! One quibble – while it’s obvious that Lemire has a deep rooted connection to his country and its inhabitants, I do hope the book eventually reads less like Justice League…in Canada, and more like a new, original super team that just happens to be based in the Great White North. How’s that for nitpicky?
If you’ve followed DC’s press releases, then the biggest draw of the issue is likely the aforementioned debut of DC’s newest hero, Equinox. While I applaud any attempt to add diversity to the comic ranks (she’s Moose Cree First Nation), I found her initial introduction to be a bit off. She appears midway through the issue, has a run in with the creepiest home invader EVER, and does…something. Obviously the scene was meant to entice and enthuse, yet it’s so quick and out of nowhere that I was more confused than anything else. That said, I trust Lemire’s ability to create and develop real characters, and I’m confident that in time he’ll bring that same depth to Miiyahbin.
On art, Mike McKone ably directs the action in typical hero-esque fashion, his characters sockin’ jaws and takin’ names with the best of them. I’ve always enjoyed McKone’s work, yet while I do feel he’s a great fit for this book, issue #0 left me a tad underwhelmed. Some of his poses seem a bit static, particularly in the fight scenes, and his backgrounds are a bit sparse. He does come through on many other panels, however, my favorite being Martian Manhunter swatting an errant robot hand as scornfully as he would a fly. McKone is a talented guy, and I fully expect the art to dazzle now that the story has been put into motion.
Justice League United #0 is a good book that doesn’t quite clear the fences. It’s not a bad issue by any means, but given the talent involved I must admit to wanting more. Still, with a great creative team and a truly eclectic cast, it won’t be long until Justice League United is a book worth talking aboot (you know I had to).